An earlier toll announced by the Turkish prime minister had given 138 people dead and 350 injured. The quake yesterday that struck Van, a large eastern city populated mainly by Kurds, was Turkey's strongest in years. Fears are running high that the toll might increase further as many people were trapped under collapsed buildings.
The US Geological Survey initially measured the quake at 7.3 magnitude but later downgraded it to 7.2. Earthquake-prone Turkey lies atop several fault lines. In 1999, two strong quakes in the heavily populated and industrialised regions of northwest Turkey left some 20,000 dead. And a powerful earthquake in the town of Caldiran in Van province killed 3,840 people in 1976.